Police said the male suspects, ages 12, 13 and 14, had burglary tools with them when they were arrested following a stakeout early Saturday morning. Charges of felony breaking and entering are pending.
Police said the 14-year-old confessed to completing or attempting 17 break-ins.
Police said the boys were taken into custody at 2 a.m. Saturday. They have since been released to their parents.
According to police, the burglars hit more than 12 businesses over the last two weeks -some more than once.
The suspects reportedly tried to break into another business, Thompson Automotive, by chipping away at the door around a deadbolt. But they were unable to get in.
Owner John Thompson said he learned from business owners who were broken into that the thieves only took small amounts of cash and left expensive items, like tools, behind.
"I thought it had to either be somebody pretty stupid, or it had to be kids," Thompson said.
When police caught the suspects, they were loaded down with a duffel bag full of tools.
Police think the boys just walked from their houses to downtown Cary, broke into the businesses and returned home before their parents even noticed they were gone.
Hairwave Salon was hit twice. Owner Claire Smith said she couldn't believe kids were responsible.
"That just blew me away that they are so young," Smith said, "that there was such a lack of guidance that they could be so young and yet already going down the wrong direction of life."
Break-ins tied to the three youth have been investigated at the following businesses:
Police said although the burglars took mostly cash, a .410-caliber shotgun was recovered in the stakeout. Other items recovered included:
Cary police said they attributed much of their success in apprehending the suspects to the criminal data collection and analysis program used to help officers hone in on the best place to set up the stakeout.
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